by Aiden Eksteen
As the automotive industry and the world at large continue to embrace eco-friendly cars, expensive and relatively inept electric vehicles and hybrids tend to fall by the wayside. This is arguably the case for the 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-in Hybrid, which, with its 224-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 engine and 9.6 kWh electric motor, achieves a mere 16 miles of electric-only range and isn't quite 'hybrid-level' efficient. PHEV alternatives such as the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Niro make this clear. As a semi-electrified subcompact crossover, the Countryman PHEV is still a rather fun vehicle to drive, especially around town, and its 5-door crossover layout allows for the whole family to join in. Will slightly improved performance and a handful of driver-assist technologies be enough to keep the 2020 Countryman PHEV competitive in the booming crossover SUV/hybrid market? It's a tough sell.
For 2020, the Mini Cooper SE Plug-In Hybrid receives a smattering of enhancements and new features, the most significant upgrade being a larger battery pack. The PHEV's old 7.7 kWh battery has been replaced by a 9.6 kWh unit, improving its all-electric driving range from 12 miles to 16 miles. It also now comes standard with Mini's Active Driving Assistant suite, which comprises a good selection of advanced driver-assist technologies.
See trim levels and configurations:
|Cooper SE ALL4||
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Plug-in Hybrid
A 1.5-liter turbocharged straight 3-cylinder engine that's hybridized with two electric motors and a 9.6 kWh battery is the only source of power for the Countryman Plug-in Hybrid crossover. It develops a combined 224 hp that's ceded through a 6-speed automatic transmission to the Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The Countryman crossover's powertrain is somewhat lively but the car isn't as playful as its brethren. In terms of charging, the Mini's battery will take around seven hours to reach a full-charge on a 120-volt outlet. There is no official towing capacity for the Countryman, despite its crossover status.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
There's a lot to like about the Countryman Plug-in Hybrid crossover, such as its iconic, retro-chic Mini styling, its contemporary spacious cabin, and its relatively enjoyable drive dynamics. A good safety rating came from the IIHS's review of the 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-in Hybrid and the car has decent reliability expectations, to boot. It's also a luxurious alternative to its main competition, such as the Kia Niro and Subaru Crosstrek PHEVs. However, at the 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-in Hybrids price of $37,900, it's quite expensive, considering all the superior alternatives out there. It's clear that Mini didn't want to compromise on the fun-to-drive character that's so heavily associated with its name when it created the Countryman PHEV. However, a good plug-in hybrid needs to supply adequate electric-only range and highly efficient gas mileage figures to make it a feasible option, and this is where Mini missed the mark. Hopefully, a much-improved third-generation of the Countryman Plug-in Hybrid crossover will come to the USA in the near future.
As a standalone model, you don't get much choice at all when it comes to the Countryman SE Plug-in Hybrid. There are various packages and add-ons available to choose from, but being that the 2020 model comes standard with Mini's Active Driving Assistance Package, which comprises a head-up display, active cruise control, parking assistant, and park distance control, there's no real need to option anything else.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-in Hybrid: